Overrated (and My Moms)

I finished reading Eugene Cho’s book, Overrated over the weekend.
It’s a tribal thing, but I always want to support fellow Asians, particularly Koreans. It’s why I need to watch The Walking Dead. It’s why I have a copy of Better Luck Tomorrow on DVD. It’s why Jim Lee continues to be my favorite comic artist (it didn’t hurt that I discovered his drawings as a teenager with raging hormones). It’s why I sat through the stupid movie Lucy. It’s why I went and purchased Snowpiercer (awesome movie, btw). It’s why I used to root adamantly for Jeremy Lin (and will continue to root for him when he is no longer on part of the Evil Empire known as the Lakers).
Basically, there was no way I wasn’t going to buy his book.
I’ve also had few small-talk conversations with him here and there.
And when I was in Seattle, I went to his church and spent an hour or so talking to their youth pastor and getting a tour of Quest Church and Quest Cafe. They’re doing great things through the grace of God.

I liked the book. I’d recommend it. It was a fast and easy read. Some of it struck a nerve. I am more in love with the idea of changing the world than actually changing the world.
But him being a Korean-American, there were many things that I could relate to his story and his experience.

He went through a season where he had to find another job and ended up working as a custodian for Barnes and Nobles. That part I cannot personally relate to. But when we moved to America, my dad had no church and no job. My father in-law, when they moved to America had no church and no job. I think he may have worked at a dry cleaners to help support his family.

But there’s one story that really got me.
Eugene’s mother was visiting him and he got up early in the morning to head out to work. He was trying to sneak out because his mother was already up praying (another thing I can relate to — both my parents and parents in-law rising early in the morning to pray) and also because he didn’t want to tell her that he was working as a custodian to help make ends meet (Eugene and his wife had just welcomed their second child).

But she saw him about to leave and asked him, “Where are you going?”
Eugene decided to stop withholding the information about his employment and told her that he was a custodian and was heading out to work.
She looked at him and walked towards him. He didn’t know what she was going to do. He talked about the many times his mom had physically disciplined him (another relatable anecdote) and thought maybe she was going to raise her hands again. But she walked right past him, and went to the closet to grab her coat and said (in Korean), “Eugene, let’s go together. I will help you.”

I had to pause a little bit after I read that. Because in that story I saw both my mom and my mother in-law — both who have sacrificed so much for their children and continues to do so and will continue to do so.
My mom and mom in-law have shown us what it means to live a sacrificial life — to give and give and then give a little more.
If either of them saw any of their children in the situation that Eugene found himself in, they, too, will look at us and say, “Let’s go together. I will help you.”

Their love for their children knows no depth or boundaries. Because of them, we are able to have a grasp of how great God’s love for us is. And, because they have so faithfully modeled it for us, we know what a sacrificial life can look like and have no excuse to not emulate such a life.

I’m thankful for the role models I have in my mom and mom in-law.


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